Medical Mission, Day 4: Full Day of Surgery

Because we were in Vietnam for less time than some of our previous missions, it was important that we were very efficient in the operating rooms. Wednesday was our biggest day -- 15 patients.

Our morning was made a bit more challenging with scheduling changes between the two teams. We knew what patients we'd see, but the Vietnamese doctors needed to make changes to the order in which we'd see them. I spent the first part of my morning matching up our patient records with the hospital records to make sure everyone had the information they needed in the operating rooms.

Communication across departments is a challenge in any organization or business. Here we get to add in the challenge of being a team with another country trying to align with the local doctors, anesthesiology teams, and nursing staff. But it always works out.

Kids are often very scared in the operating room. They're hungry and they've been separated from their parents since the pre-op waiting area. Then the nurses bring them into a bright, cold room full of people wearing scrubs and masks -- and many of them speaking an unfamiliar language. It can be intimidating for adults, even more so for children.

Madison and Devin have magical abilities the elicit smiles and giggles from the younger kids, which helps them relax and be less fearful of what's going on around them in the room. One of our first patients of the day was a five-year-old girl who was missing two toes on her right foot. Madison kept her amused with a stuffed puppy toy -- she didn't even flinch while the anesthesiologists started an IV.

Wednesday's Cases

Operating Room 1

  1. 5-year-old: PT tendon recession
  2. 10-year-old: TAL plus dorsiflex TN fusion with CC fusion
  3. 19-year-old: TAL, midfoot osteotomy, Cole osteotomy
  4. 14-year-old: TAL
  5. 34-year-old: triple arthrodesis

Operating Room 2

  1. 14-year-old: polydactyly - bilateral amputations of 5th digit 
  2. 46-year-old: STJ fusion, peroneal tendon transfer to lateral calcaneus
  3. 17-year-old: gastrocnemius recession
  4. 61-year-old: TN and CC fusion
  5. 14-year-old: TAL

Operating Room 3

  1. 10-year-old: gastrocnemius recession
  2. 34-year-old: TAL, Cole osteotomy, Steindler stripping
  3. 21-year-old: triple arthrodesis
  4. 53-year-old: spring ligament repair, medial calcaneal slide osteotomy, Lapidus
  5. 11-year-old: bilateral moderate gastroc recession